Dear Friends in Christ,
My prayer is often inspired by visualizing the simple gestures of our liturgical worship. A procession of pilgrims climbing up the holy mountain. A company of saints standing before the high altar to pray and worship. Oriented toward the East, we look to the Risen Christ.
We turn together toward the Lord. It’s a powerful reminder of what we are about in worship: meeting Christ who comes to meet us. We face Christ together. I know the objection to this liturgical gesture: “the priests have their back to the people.” While technically true, the liturgical movement points to something grander and more beautiful: we are all united together as one in our worship of God.
Simple gestures say a lot – the holding of a hand, the wiping of a tear, the anointing of a wound. Simple gestures have the strange power to remind us that love is made real in the ordinary things of life. Simple gestures have the power to heal us when we do them intentionally. Simple gestures have the power to unite us when we do them together. Simple liturgical gestures have the power to transform us – blessing bread, mixing water and wine, lifting up our hearts. Simple liturgical gestures have the power to change us forever.
During our Eucharistic prayer, the simple liturgical gesture that always moves me with gratitude and joy is the elevation of the chalice. “Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.” Heart lifted up to God, I elevate the cup high above my head. Gaze fixed on the shiny goblet filled with precious blood, I behold the reflection of the congregation on the chalice.
For a moment I become captivated by the mirror image of the people of Grace in the shimmering chalice. I behold the pilgrims. I contemplate the saints of God. I survey the wondrous cup and thank God for gathering us at the holy table.
This simple gesture makes me thankful for love made real in the lives of the people reflected on it. This simple gesture helps me to rejoice in the splendor of God’s radiance. I praise, bless, and thank God for goodness, grace and mercy. As I behold the ways God sanctifies the holy gifts and makes those who receive them holy.
I pray that such simple gestures can continue to inspire us, heal us, and transform us.
In God’s Grace,
Father Santi +